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- The Thunder (1st in The West) and the Bucks (8th in The East) are locked into their playoff positions so tonight’s game will likely have the look of a preseason game, at least as far as OKC is concerned. Thunder head coach Scott Brooks will not play Kevin Durant, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Martin, Nick Collison and Derek Fisher. Hasheem Thabeet will start for the third straight game in place of Perkins and rookie Perry Jones III will start in place of Durant. The other three starters — Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Thabo Sefolosha — will play very limited minutes. Perkins (hamstring) and Martin (lower back) will miss their third straight game but should be ready for the playoffs.
- Durant announced via his Instagram account that would be sitting out then told reporters, “I wanna play but the medical staff and coaches felt like I shouldn’t, so I didn’t fight them. I’ve played in every game, been in every practice and every shootaround and they want me to rest.”
- The Thunder have been hot, winning 10 of their last 12 but the Bucks have been cold, losing five straight so Milwaukee head coach Jim Boylan will have a different approach than Brooks, “We’ve had a bad taste in our mouths with some of these games so I think psychologically it’s important that we shake that off a little bit.”
- However, injuries will limit things somewhat. Bucks center Larry Sanders rejoined the team today and was at shootaround after being in Chicago to talk to specialists about his lower back pain but, “he’s not feeling 100 percent with his back so he won’t play tonight,” Boylan said. And forward Ersan Ilyasova is being held out tonight too.
– Randy Renner